.

I'm writing a book. It's a fantasy novel. Maybe someday I'll release it.

question Please give us a brief bio of yourself:

I'm a game developer. I always wanted to be gamedev since I remember myself. Now I can say I'm living my dream. I've been programming since 13 years old.
 
Being 15 I've started earning my first money on web development and almost all earned money I was spending on tech books while my friends were spending money on girls and cinema ;)

I was born in Poland. At the age of 8 I've moved to Ukraine with my parents who were diplomats. In Ukraine I finished a high school, graduated from Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics with Master's degree in Computer Science. I worked for several years as a programmer, sales manager, etc. Than I started my own IT business - developing web sites, creating graphics, IT-consulting. All this time I was dreaming about game development but I was saying to myself "Now I must earn money for living, later I will create games, because it's hard, need a lot of time and funds". Everything was good till 2011, when my company was cheated by a business partner because of a large amount of money. I had to close my company. I was sitting on a floor at my place thinking what to do. And I understood that  all my life I was doing not what I dreamed about. Game development. And it was now or never. I've started gathering all information about it. Together with Ana, my wife, a cg illustrator, we've founded fantastoonic to create games for kids  3 and above. Also we founded another company for games for elder consumer. It will debut on the App Store in September.

What do you do for inspiration?

When idea comes to my mind I discuss it with Ana, with my son Kenneth. I've got so many ideas and game projects, that I'm afraid I never do most of them because of time. My inspirations is in my family.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

http://2advanced.com, http://facebook.com, http://www.raywenderlich.com

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

I think it is all in the future yet. For now - Ice Cream Truck.

How many hours do you work each week?

It depends on what I'm doing. When I'm rethinking the idea of a project I can't say I'm working - I'm just thinking. When I'm putting all together and there are no any big bugs -  it can be even 100h a week. But standard day takes about 10h of work, so 60h a week. I rest only on Sundays.

How do you relax or unwind?

I relax with my family in the park. Also I like driving a car without any point of destination. When I'm driving I can think about ideas. It's just road and my thoughts. But the best place to relax are the mountains. As for everyday relax it can be reading, running, gym or capoeira. Writing a book is also a good relaxer for mind.

If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?

Farming.

What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?

Favourite part - watching your idea come to life just like you've imagined it. And of course reading happy customers reviews. 

Hardest part - when I can't understand what's wrong. It should be ok, but it's not and all what you've got is a memory dump. Mostly helps clearing and restarting Xcode and OS X :) 

When I'm stuck I try fix everything till evening. If I don't do this I will think about it all night long. That's horrible so I must fix it till evening. When I'm totally stuck I try to rewrite the part of code from the beginning without looking at an old code.

What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?

About 44h. Thanks to coffee and chocolate!

If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?

Becoming an indie game developer. 

What software could you not live without?

Safari, Xcode, cocos2d, TexturePacker, ParticleDesigner, PhysicsEditor, Unity, Blender, Adobe Creative Suite.

How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?

Now there are 4 projects on different stages of work.

In terms of software, is there anything new you have been playing with lately or that has impressed you?

Lately I'm playing with Unity and Blender. Maybe soon we release a game created with those. 

Also I'm really impressed with Kamcord - is a built-in gameplay video and audio recording technology for iOS. You're recording your gameplay without having to leave your game! As for me it's brilliant. I've used it to record Ice Cream Truck gameplay for our trailer but I already think to use it in a game to let players record and share their gameplay.

Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

Let us limit range of design companies to iOS products. First place definately belongs to Apple. Than I'll put Nimblebit, Retrodreamer. Great work has done Ironhide Game Studio with Kingdom Rush.  Of course, as a games for kids developer, I must note Toca Boca.

Who is your target audience?

fantastoonic - games for kids 3 and above, also for my own kids who are now 1 and 4 years old.

Our second company - games for elder kids, teens, me. For everyone.

Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?

I don't know it yet. I'm not looking on FWA as a helper. For me it's a dream that comes true. I always wanted a FWA award. Now I got it and I'm so proud of it!

Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?

I'm writing a book. It's a fantasy novel. Maybe someday I'll release it. If you are asking about professional book about gamedev, design etc. - I haven't got any offers yet ;) Ice Cream Truck isn't a big thing in a gamedev industry. 

Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?

Playing games ;) 

What was the last digital effort you saw (or were a part of) that used social media in a way that really made sense. Why?

I really like tweets by André Kuipers (@astro_andre) who is European Space Station astronaut. He is tweeting pictures from space. Breathtaking.

Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?

I think web and TV will merge and transform into a new media. Today we can see the first steps - we are watching movie on iPad and searching Internet on the TV.

Of all the websites you/your company have produced, which one are you most proud of?

As for iOS product of course Ice Cream Truck!

What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?

It was 3d maps of shopping malls. It was designed to be quickly configurable for any shopping mall. We added there CMS for clients to add their logo, information. We used for it Flash, Away3d and Blender. Also there was an ad management. We spent on it about 6 months and it was the last project of my old company. It hasn't been released but all the code is sleeping on my hdd. Maybe in near future I will release it, but for now - gamedev.

Do you think Flash is here to stay?

With appearing of HTML5 I think Flash days are numbered.

What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

Of course. You must just do what you like, work hard. Today Internet is the best place to educate!

If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?

Don't be afraid to try. Even if you don't get it today, you'll get it tomorrow. Believe in yourself. Always! And educate yourself every day.

How difficult do you find employing the right people in a world where everyone calls themselves a web designer?

It's the hardest thing in our business! Half of the kingdom for such person!

What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?

The Time-turner from Harry Potter books series.

When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?

A really good product.

How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?

-while (true) {

ReadABookOrTutorial();

        TryExamplesYourself();

}

Always ask questions to your higher skilled friends. You can get a priceless advices!

How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?

If we're talking about iOS games trends - every week I'm downloading lots of apps from the App Store. I'm searching there for a new features. Reading their clients reviews to find out what they like and what not. I'm regulary watching web sites of successful developers. Also reading their thread on facebook and twitter.

What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

Those are Brazil and USA. Brazil is for architecture. USA for technologies, games, startups.

There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?

I'm doing it right now. For me this project is called "game development".

What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?

I hope I will be doing great games which people will love. That's all I need.

What are you excited about learning next and is there a long term challenge you are considering tackling?

Unity. 

Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Let the force be with you! ;)

It has been a privilege, thanks very much

Thank you, Rob. It's been a pleasure!


Links

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Ana Mark (left), cotton candy (middle) and Matt Mark (right)
Ana Mark (left), cotton candy (middle) and Matt Mark (right)

Kenneth Mark - the first Ice Cream Truck tester
Kenneth Mark - the first Ice Cream Truck tester

Ice Cream Truck for iPhone/iPad Trailer

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